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Waiting on Wednesday: Cress

Hi there!

Every week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine). Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme where we get the chance to shine the spotlight on upcoming releases that I’m anticipating.

Today I’m incredibly excited about a book that won’t be released until February 2014!

Yes I know! It is like cruel and unusual punishment that we have to wait that long for Cress by Marissa Meyer!

Cress by Marissa MeyerRapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

The first two books in this series, Cinder and Scarlet, are just fantastic. If you haven’t read these books yet, you definitely should. We all know that I’m a massive fairy tale retelling fan and what better way to retell fairy tales than in a sci-fi setting?! Plus there is so much Firefly connections all over this series it makes me want to dance with delight! Seriously. Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite?! How freaking cool does that sound?!

Cress isn’t scheduled to release until February 4, so I have a while to wait! Oh the agony!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Veronica Rossi

Welcome back BookTasty peeps!

I’m back with another author interview to promote and celebrate this year’s YALL Fest! If you haven’t already heard YALL Fest is an exciting Young Adult book festival, complete with over 50 of YA’s top authors, which will be taking place in Charleston, SC on November 9.  This will be my first time in Veronica RossiCharleston AND at YALL Fest!

So, let’s celebrate by showcasing one of those authors, Veronica Rossi, who wrote Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night! I have to say, I’m not only enjoying the hosting aspect of these interviews, but also reading the different responses each author has to the same questions.  Let’s check out what Veronica Rossi has to say!

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Yeah, those. And all the ones in between!

Best writing tip you ever received?

$5. Just kidding. Um… tip… I think it’s probably to allow yourself to suck when writing early drafts. It takes away a lot of the fear of generating good material. It’s not easy to be creative when you’re judging your work.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1.       In the past year, I discovered a deep love of Brussel sprouts

2.       I talk to myself. Heck. Sometimes I argue with myself.

3.       I’m arguing with myself about including that last point at this very moment.

4.       My favorite animals are elephants.

5.       Dresses with pockets make me happy.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

I usually work in my home office, but I love working in hotel rooms. No distractions!

What are you working on now?

Something I’m very excited about! Can’t divulge any details yet, but it’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for years.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

I think Veronica Rossi and I need to have a Brussel sprout party! I recently developed a love for them too, as long as they’re roasted with olive oil and sea salt….YUM! So, Veronica I’m up for a Best Brussel sprouts in Charleston hunt while we’re both there for YALL Fest!  Are you in?!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Sean Williams

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m pretty excited because this weekend I’m going off on a weekend women’s retreat with my church and we’re going to the mountains…YAY!!

But before that happens let’s talk YALL Fest! The YALL Book Fest is happening in Charleston on November 9 and I am extremely amazed that there are going to be 50 of the top YA authors there! I literally cannot contain my excitement!

Excited CatSo, because of this obvious excitement I’ve agreed to host interviews with some of the authors. Today’s author is fantasy and sci-fi author Sean Williams (who has a really cool looking website btw). His most recent book is the sci-fi Twinmaker. It shouldn’t be a big deal that Sean Williams is a guy, but in the YA world I think it is. In my experienceSean Williams there definitely seems to be a majority of female YA authors so it’s always refreshing to have a guy in the mix! So here is to the Guys of YA…should this be a calendar or something?! hahaha

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

The right music. And chocolate as a reward when I finish.

Describe your book in 5 words

Jump meets Uglies. But different.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first line is often the hardest to write, but I like a good challenge. The line I like writing the least is the last because it means I have a whole load of rewriting ahead of me.

Best writing tip you ever received?

Give up. If you can do that, you’ll be happier and probably better off as a result. If you can’t, then you know writing is exactly the right thing for you!

Twin Maker by Sean Williams Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1) I live in Adelaide, South Australia, a place that’s home to about a million other people but somehow feels like a small town, which is why I love it.
2) I still think music from the 1980s is cool.
3) My stepson has situs invertus, which means his heart is on the wrong side of his body. That’s not really about me, but it is pretty random.
4) I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who.
5) I’m minding a pair of green tree frogs, Skipper and Jumpy, for a young friend while she’s overseas with her family. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seanwilliamsauthor/.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

In my study, a lovely upstairs nook containing all my favorite book-related things, but I’ve trained myself to write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and some music. I quite like writing in hotels, probably because someone else does all the household chores.

What are you working on now?

Crashland, the sequel to Twinmaker.

I’m going to have to look for Twinmaker on audio because it sounds like a book my husband and I would both really enjoy! Also, Sean Williams is a self-proclaimed Doctor Who fan, as am I. Don’t you wonder who his favorite Doctor is?

Also, don’t forget to follow YALL Fest on twitter (@yallfest) to learn more about this book fest.

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Pulling Out the Floorboards: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Welcome back to BookTasty!

I’m always on the lookout for audiobooks my husband and I can both listen to together. It has to have the right plot, the right characters and just can’t be too girly in general I think. In the past we’ve listened to Agatha Christie mysteries, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Maze Runner series, and Gregor the Overlander together. Since I’d heard the news that a movie was in the works, we decided it was time to listen to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Cardtrain them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

This was such a great one for us to listen to together. I know this book was published in the 1980s, but I had never read it until now. Honestly, I’d never been interested before but the movie is releasing in November so I knew I had to finally read it! Overall, Ender’s Game is a very cool dystopian sci-fi tale that kept me coming back for more. I think it’s a great story for a family to read together because it will appeal to both adults and (middle school & older) kids.

I liked Ender as a main character and always cheered him on for sure, but I also just felt sorry for him the whole time! Just when things are going okay (not even good) for Ender Wiggins another floorboard is pulled out from under him. ALWAYS!  Ender just keeps getting the crappy end of the stick! CONSTANTLY! Honestly, after a while I couldn’t help but get tired of it, I wanted him to succeed and  you can only take so much hardship with little-to-no relief for so long! But I think that’s what makes Ender’s story so special in some twisted way! haha

Ender’s relationships with his siblings were especially interesting. You have the dangerous relationship between  Ender and Peter contrasted with Ender and Valentine’s close connection.  Then it all gets mixed up when Valentine and Peter become a duo.  You have some really intense relationships on both sides of the spectrum and they both spur Ender on in different ways. In fact, I kept forgetting that the story is about kids/teens because they’re thrown into these very adult roles and relationships. There were some times, however, where things got a little heady for me…specifically when Valentine and Peter are discussing politics/government, but it didn’t ruin it for me or anything.

Regarding the audio, the narrator was fabulous…there was even a cast of narrators for specific voices, which we loved!

All in all, you should definitely check out Ender’s Game (the book!!) if you’re even the smallest bit interested in the movie!

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Fantastic Audio (2002)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 57 mins

Narrator(s): Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison

Series: Book one in Ender’s Saga

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Welcome back!

Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) was created to allow book bloggers a space to highlight upcoming new releases.

This week I’m shining the spotlight on Uninvited by Sophie Jordan.

UninvitedThe Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

Talk about in intriguing summary! I love the description as a mashup between The Scarlet Letter and Minority Report! thriller and it totally creeps me out – the idea of being able to predict a homicidal tendency gene! I still haven’t read Jordan’s Firelight series (even though I own the first book) but I hear such good things about her books that I’m excited for this one! Also, did you pay attention to the cool DNA hair on the cover?! WHAT!!

Uninvited is scheduled to release on January 28 from HarperTeen.

 

 

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TraumaBonds and The Kill Order by James Dashner

Hi there BookTasty friends!

I’m  glad that it’s Friday and I get to bring you another book review…although today is my official last Friday of freedom before the school year starts as next week is all preplanning. I do love my job (so much!) but I also love my summer vacations so it’s definitely a mix of excitement and lament!

Well, let’s talk books! Today’s review is for James Dashner’s The Kill Order.

The Kill Order by James DashnerBefore WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees. Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

The Kill Order is Dashner’s prequel to the amazing Maze Runner trilogy, which my husband and I read together and loved. Because we loved the original Maze Runner books we were both excited to read this prequel…although I was also a little hesitant as well.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it…especially when I realized none of the previous Maze Runner characters I loved were in it (which makes sense since it’s a prequel duh!). It quickly became clear that although this book had no Thomas, Newt, Minho, or Brenda in it, that didn’t even matter. The new characters, Mark, Trina and Alec were just as interesting and the story was action packed with intensity the whole way through!

One thing you need to know about James Dashner’s books is that whenever the characters start to feel even the smallest ounce of security and safety it is violently ripped from them! Seriously, he’s done this from book one and it’s only magnified in The Kill Order; the craziness just doesn’t let up. The events of Mark and Trina’s story go from bad to worse quickly and just keep getting worse. It is relentless…but in a thrilling page-turner way. Even the ending (which I’m not spoiling) isn’t necessarily a victory because we already know what happens in the rest of the Maze Runner series.
So, Mark and Trina. How did they stack up to my beloved Gladers? They were just as likable and interesting. Mark and Trina have this relationship that feels like the only fresh and positive thing that either one of them has. Their friendship is long-standing, starting even before the sun-flares, and now it is blossoming into something deeper and more romantic than either of them is sure of. Similarly is the relationship between Mark and the gruff Alec. They have this whole father/son thing going on, but there is also a certain level of respect and equality between them, especially as the story progresses. Dashner’s characters form these strong bonds fast. It’s kind of like relationships formed at summer camp…only with demented “people” hunting you….(gosh I hope that makes sense). My husband calls them “TraumaBonds”.

If you haven’t read any of The Maze Runner books they are absolutely fantastic reads.  Once you’ve read all three of the original books, go and read The Kill Order. They’re all fast-paced dystopian, creepy thrillers that are great for both guy and girl readers. I also highly recommend the audiobooks of all the titles in this series; the narrator is talented and does a great job with all the voices. If you needed anymore motivation to read them just know that they’re currently filming The Maze Runner movie and it’s scheduled to release in February 2014!

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (August 14, 2012)

Format: audiobook

Length: 10 hours and 2 mins

Narrator(s): Mark Deakins

Series: Prequel to The Maze Runner trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel) (Maze Runner Trilogy)

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: 3:59

Hola!

It’s time for Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Gretchen McNeil’s new thriller 3:59 sounds crazy…in a good way!

Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

3:59 sounds incredibly suspenseful, which is interesting because I’m not usually one for suspense. I think its the doppleganger plotline that has me…and the “shadowy creatures (that) feed on human flesh”! What?! Could these potential be zombies of some sort?! It looks like we’ll have to wait until September 17 to figure it all out.

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Fairy Tale with a Twist of Sci-Fi: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

Whew! Moving is intense! First the packing and living in chaos, then the cleaning and packing up the truck. This is then followed by driving the truck and your cars to new home (from Florida to South Carolina in our case) and unpacking said truck. Finally  you unpack boxes and organize. It’s a good thing we have amazing friends in both states who were ready to help!

Recently I was able to snatch up the audiobook of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer from my library – I literally did a little happy Scarlet by Marissa Meyerjumping dance in the middle of the teen section when I saw it sitting on the shelf! I absolutely loved Meyer’s first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, so I knew Scarlet (book two) was one I had to read!

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth. Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Marissa Meyer just knows how to write a fun book! Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorites, and Meyer took the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale and added a kick-butt futuristic, sci-fi twist to it. LOVE!

In Cinder, we met Cinder and Prince Kai. Their stories were great – a cyborg Cinderella meets reluctant prince amidst a plague epidemic in futuristic Asia? But what I love about Meyer’s storytelling is she doesn’t stop with them and make them the central focus of each book, she adds in new main characters to move the plot forward but also add new story lines. In Scarlet we met, Scarlet (who always wears her red hoodie) and Wolf, an intriguing mystery guy who knows more than he lets on.

As a main character it took me a while to warm up to Scarlet. In the beginning she seems unnecessarily reckless and rebellious, but her sarcasm (which I’m always a fan of) starts to grow on you and you can’t help but be on her side. Plus, the more and more I remember the original story of Red Riding Hood, Scarlet’s personality reflects Red Riding Hood pretty well. Not following authority’s recommendations?! That’s Scarlet!

On another character note, Cinder is much darker and snappier than she was in the first book, but then again if I was on the run from the law I’d probably be a little snappy too! Oh and Captain Thorne?  You remind me of someone just as naughty and honorable…(pssst…it’s Captain Mal from Firefly). Of course, Queen Levana is an evil and manipulative as ever, while her “army” is terrifying!

Meyer’s sci-fi futuristic world is fabulously imagined, but isn’t the focus of the story. The reader isn’t laden down with technology and scientific descriptions of things. These characters live a world of robots, vid-screens, trackers,s pace ships, and cyborgs but ultimately the reader can recognize the world as one that’s not so different from ours today.

So, all in all I really enjoyed Scarlet and can’t wait for the next book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress which is to be released in early 2014. So, if you’re looking for a quality fairy tale retelling, or are in the mood for some fun science fiction you should definitely read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (only you should start with Cinder since, you know, it is the first book!).

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (February 5, 2013)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 19 minutes

Series: Second book in The Lunar Chronicles

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:  Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Inhuman

Hello!

I hope you’re all having a relaxing summer! We’re still in the middle of unpacking our new house so I’ll have to post pictures when we get everything settled.

Every week I participate in Breaking the Spine’s Waiting on Wednesday.

I recently saw Inhuman by Kat Falls featured on someone else’s blog and got pretty excited. I loved her first book Dark Life so much and from this summary this one has awesome potential!

In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit. America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.
Inhuman by Kat Falls
Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught. Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.

Doesn’t this sound like it could be really good?  I love the whole “maninmal mutation”  idea! The cover is pretty cool too, but I’ve realized it’s a little too similar to the covers of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy…hmmm…oh well I’d try ride that success too if I was a publisher!

Inhuman is slated to release this upcoming September 24, so I’ll have to wait patiently until then!

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Bone Season

Hiya!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week I’m patiently waiting on The Bone Season, a debut by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal The Bone Season by Samantha Shannonunderworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

So, The Bone Season is getting tons of awesome press. Apparently the Samantha Shannon has already signed a six figure deal with her publisher for the first three books in this seven book series. It’s all very, very interesting. I like the premise behind what I read in this summary, so hopefully The Bone Season will live up to the hype! But, we won’t know until August 20…but that’s not TOO far away!